What you need to know:
- The jars are made from recyclable glass and come with bamboo lids, also recyclable.
- The company customises the jars based on the customer’s taste and preferences.
James Bukusi planned to pursue a career in farming after graduating from university in 2015. It was a passion that he held dear since farming could not only be a source of regular income, but he could also play a role in helping the country attain it’s goal of food security.
In 2016 therefore, he started Kisaju Greens in Kajiado County, where he farmed French beans, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, kales, spinach, broccoli and potatoes. But he ended up farming for only two-years.
What he did not realise initially was that farming was a huge investment that required a huge working capital as well as constant labour. This only became apparent after doing a proper feasibility study.
Farming, he advises, is not for the faint-hearted since it drains resources and energy while income remains low.
“It requires heavy investment, if you are trying to do farming and relying on the money you get from your crop to keep the farm running, it is very hard to keep afloat – you need to have working capital,” says Bukusi, who’s in his early 30s.
Due to this persistent challenge, he quit farming to focus on e-commerce in 2020. That year, he launched Tidy, an online company that sells custom-made glass jars for storing cereals such as rice, beans and oatmeal as well as liquid oil and soap.
“As people spend more time in the house (due to the Covid-19 pandemic) they can make their kitchens look organised, nice and classy,” he explains how the idea came about.
Some of the products that they offer are a set of 12 glass spice jars (100 ml), spice racks (for glass displaying) and glass bottles for soap and oil dispensing.
He says that the cheapest product that they are selling goes for Sh250 (one labelled spice jar) with the most expensive going for Sh2,500, a 3-litre pantry jar suitable for storing flour and rice.
The jars are made out of recyclable glass and come with bamboo lids, which offer protection against moisture. The products are shipped from e-commerce platform, Alibaba. However, the company customises the jars based on the customer’s taste and preferences.
Glass storage jars
Bukusi, who has an MBA in business administration from the United States International University-Africa, says that he invested a minimum of Sh50,000 into the company, money that he used to set up a website for the e-commerce, source products as well as test the viability of the products.
Some of the advantages of glass storage jars, he says, are durability, water tight, as well as aesthetic and environment friendly since they can be recycled. He says that women are their biggest clients since they are the homemakers.
As more people warm up to shopping online, his company now offers delivery services through courier services countrywide clients. Delivery costs start from as low as Sh300, and go up depending on the final destination. In terms of daily sales, he says that sometimes they can make up to Sh20,000 or as little as Sh5,000.
“Some days you sell, some days you don’t.”
One of their biggest challenges is high delivery costs, which inhibits sales since sometimes the cost of transporting products may be higher than the final price of the product, a factor that discourages online shopping.
“For example, one is buying a product for Sh200, yet delivering it costs Sh200 - it doesn't make sense. Delivery costs are quite expensive.”